I bought this book because it was based in Venice, one of my favorite cities, and the premise seemed intriguing. What I got was a rollicking great book that I thoroughly enjoyed from cover-to-cover! Julia Rivers is a divorced woman who had been persuaded by her boss and mentor to give up her newborn child for adoption five years earlier. She then begins to receive cryptic anonymous notes from a stranger, telling her about her son, Dominic, including a current photograph of him. Desperate to be reunited with the child she regrets abandoning, Julia undertakes a journey from the "kidnappers" under their specific instructions to Venice to await further contact. Traveling by train, she meets a handsome Australian, Tarn Menzies, whom she befriends and who quickly becomes involved in a scheme with her to help find her son before the people holding him can manipulate the situation further. Along the way, she reflects back to the time she spent as a young wife with her handsome husband, Breckon Rivers (Riviera) back at his family's creepy Charleston, S.C. plantation house, where his jealous, bizarre relatives schemed to cause no end of torment to Julia. Breckon changes from a loving, devoted husband into a total stranger; cold, aloof, and aparently believing in the ludicrous accusations of his family over the pleas his own wife. Julia and Breckon eventually divorce, and she returns to England to work again for Sir Charles, her mentor, who is no innocent when it comes to her welfare. As the plot unfolds and heats up, Juila and Tarn are swept up and driven to desperate measures in the urgent attempt to rescue her son, before it is too late. At the eleventh hour, Breckon suddenly appears back in her life, and unexpected twists and shocking revelations keep you turning the pages long after the midnight hour! After finishing the novel, I read about its author, Jane Aiken Hodge. I was surprised to discover that she is the daughter of the famous American poet, Conrad Aiken, who was born in my favorite American city, Savannah, Georgia. Miss Hodge has written many other works of fiction over the years, which I plan to delve into the in near future. Sadly, she only died just last June the age of 91. A very great lady, indeed.
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